HANFORD – Freedom from chains both physical and emotional is the message behind the annual P.A.T.Y’Studio dance recital.
This year’s recital, scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, is a dramatic and personal retelling of the Biblical story of “Exodus,” in which Moses delivers the Israelites from slavery and Egyptian oppression.
The choice of the “Exodus” story for this year’s recital was made because P.A.T.Y’Studio owner and director Patricia “Paty” Diaz wanted to present a story that shows the troubles and opposition we all face in life and how to overcome those hardships.
“I think everybody, at some point in their lives, goes through something that they feel chained to. I felt that, particularly,” Diaz said, becoming visibly emotional. “I needed to release that feeling and I usually release all my emotions in my work here in the studio, so I just let go of those chains that were bonding me to emotions I didn’t need to have.”
Diaz added that she wanted to incorporate the emotions of her personal life into the story of “Exodus” because she feels that, much the way that God chose Moses to perform his task in the story, He also instills purpose in people today.
The story will be told as a musical, featuring actors from the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company as well as P.A.T.Y.’Studio’s signature dancers. In addition to the performers, more than two dozen staff and volunteers will bring the story, “Oppression into Liberation” to the stage.
“It’s a privilege to show God’s story through art, through dance and through acting and singing,” she said.
The show will feature what Diaz calls “powerful” dances of a variety of styles including folklorico, salsa, hip hop, tap, contemporary, jazz and breakdance. Many of the musical numbers utilize modern music as juxtaposition to the story’s sixth century B.C. historical setting. Diaz credits co-director Savanna Mangum’s ear for finding the perfect music to go with the story.
Two of the dancers rehearsing for their parts on Tuesday evening at the studio’s new downtown location at 123 W. 7th St., told the Sentinel about their excitement leading into the annual recital.
“I like dancing, specifically at this studio because the type of dancing that we have here, you really express yourself that dancing. You feel like you’re not just doing it for yourself, but you’re doing it to represent others,” 10-year-old Elizabeth Perez said.
Perez and friend, 11-year-old Salma Alatorre agreed that rehearsing for upcoming recitals and performances is exhilarating because they know they’ll be surrounded by supportive dancers and participating in an environment that they say breeds inspiration and creativity.
“You know you’re going to do something that makes you happy,” Alatorre said. “It’s a great feeling waking up every morning and knowing you’ll get to go dance.”
While dancing was their top priority, as they’d been students of Diaz’ for 3-4 years, they also agreed that it’s occasionally fun to try new things, which performing in a musical allows them to do.
“Musical theater is a good choice because you get to pursue dance and acting and theatricality in the performance, so that’s a plus. It’s everything rolled into one,” Alatorre said.
“You feel good about yourself. You feel like you’re depended on and important to the show,” Perez said.
For more information, visit https://patystudio.com/index.html.